Home Beneficiaries Day Care Center for the Elderly in Gyumri Seda Arshakuni


Seda Arshakuni, the Exiled Refugee

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 19:27

Seda Arshakuni was born in Gyumri on January 24, 1927. Her father, craftsman, was from Kars and her mother, housewife, from Gyumri. In 1918 with his entire family Seda’s father fled to Armenia, came to Gyumri, so much resembling Gyumri, and had met her future wife, Seda’s mother.

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“It was very painful for my father to leave his native home Kars, his only dream was to return and leave there. He even told me that after his death I take ground from his grave and take it to Kars,” told Seda. But, anyway, the dream of an old man to go and stay there remained a dream. And one day, when he decided to go there he saw Turks, face to face.

The Arshakunis’ had 8 children: 4 sons and 4 daughters and one of them is Seda. Seda studied at Gyumri’s Railway school, then she continued her education at the Accounting College. She had a girlfriend, who had been Seda’s future husband’s sister who introduced Seda to her brother. In 1947 they got married. They had 3 sons. Seda worked in a kindergarten as a cook for about 50 years, and at the end of her career she was granted a car as the best employee.

- I was awarded a car as the best employee, - told Seda proudly - it was one of the best cars of the time: “Volga.”

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She worked from an early age and had to do everything to help her family.

However, she couldn’t fully enjoy her marriage life, as they were exiled to the furthest region of Russia Altay.

“- In the midst of a night all of a sudden there was a knock at the door. My father-in- law opened the door and was told that we are sent to exile. I hugged my little child to protect him. They moved us to the forest and gave some documents to sign, it was written that we agree to stay there exiled forever. We were very frightened, I remember when we heard sounds of shooting, and saw guns at their hands, I firmly hugged my child, and kept telling myself if they shoot I would protect my child with my arms, so nothing will happen to him”,- told a 90-years old grandmother. ”We were on the road for about 13 days, it was very hard, we couldn’t endure the difficult conditions, it was cold, we were hungry… but could do nothing.

We have worked in the fields, we worked in very severe conditions.”

“We worked a lot, suffered, I recall we went to the fields and did any work we were told. It was so cold that one day my toe nails stuck to my boots and me feet bled. I couldn’t bear the pain so my father-in-law began to treat it with plants. Recently “Armenian Caritas” has given me a medicine for my feet, and I am very grateful for that”.

After the long and cruel 7 years of exile the Arshakunis at last got the opportunity to come back to their native Gyumri, Armenia. They have already had 3 sons and many problems, but they were full of hope and it seemed to them that they could finally start a calm life but the disastrous earthquake was the next blow for the family. Two boys were killed by the ruins, and the third son got diabetes as a result of the stress of losing his brothers and after 3 years of suffering passed away in 2011.

Now her grandchildren in the Armenian Army and protect their country from an enemy, two of them are in Kharabakh and two in Etchmiadzin.

“I could build my two sons grave, but I haven’t got enough money for the tombstones of my little son, my only wish is to build his gravestone, I want nothing else, I’ll be able to survive…….”, -told Seda with tears in her eyes.

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Prepared by:Stella Antonyan